A Bar Of Silver
By Jock Monteith 5th January 2022
There's very little in this world that can stimulate your adrenalin glands as much as a hooking a 'super fit' Atlantic salmon on a fly rod. When that gentle initial tap on the fly develops into an all out 'screaming reel' war there's no way your heart will escape the accelerator pedal. The natural highs in life don't come any better than this as you'll already know or will soon fully understand.
Playing A Salmon
The flashes of silver from a battling salmon will be very visible throughout the fight and even on a dull day when there's little light to reflect off the flanks of a salmon. Add some sunlight into the mix and you're in for some serious silvery shimmers & flashes as the salmon tries to throw the hook to escape capture. This tantalising silver flash show is often more visible as the fight comes to an end and you've correctly steered your salmon into the slacker water margins.
A Bar Of Silver
These fresh run Scottish Atlantic salmon are often referred to as 'bars of silver' and once you make contact you'll fully understand why that is. Stay calm and composed while you're playing a salmon and don't ever try to rush proceedings. You'll know when the salmon is tiring so don't try to overly rush the fight as a salmon will often fight back harder when over pressured. Forget the landing net as many anglers think about the net far too early into the fight which is just a sign that they're not truly in charge of their own adrenalin!
Where To Land A Salmon
After hooking a salmon an experienced angler will be scanning the river margins for a safe area away from the main current where the salmon can be played out. This area should have some reasonable depth of at least a few feet and be snag free. Most fish can be 'walked' across or upstream under steady 'consistent' rod pressure to such an area and you'll be surprised how effective this 'fight control' method can be in bringing your fish to the most suitable fight and landing area.
Salmon Fight Tactics
Keep a high rod tip with a good fighting curve in your rod to exert enough pressure but let the salmon take line when it wants to. Eventually the fish will calm down if you're patient enough and will start showing more of its flanks and tail at close range. This is the time of the fight to start thinking about landing the salmon however it's always advisable never to reach for the landing net too soon as it tends to psychologically rush the fight too much and the eagerness of holding a landing net too soon will only deplete the fun of battle.
Netting A Salmon
Pick your moment and one attempt to net a salmon should be all you need. A pre-submerged salmon landing net only needs to be lifted when the fish is finally drawn over it. You should never have to over extend or lunge at a fish with the net and doing so usually means the fish isn't quite ready. The final flash of silver as you see here will be the most potent one for staying lodged in your memory banks!
Your Salmon Fishing Mindset
The best mental approach to Scottish salmon fishing is to keep a confident mindset throughout the full course of the fishing day and make sure your water coverage is consistently good. Always be scanning the river while you're fishing for those little signs that salmon are present and mentally record any sightings by pinpointing them to riverbank features. It takes only one well thought out cast over a salmon at some point during the morning or afternoon fishing session to turn any salmon fishing day into a memorable one!
Professional Salmon Guide Tuition
If you want to learn all of the above skills to make sure your 'batting average' increases at catching salmon through increased effective salmon pool coverage then book a professional salmon guide to teach you all of the relevant aspects of this fascinating pursuit. A permit purchase on it's own is generally a waste of money unless you're happy just being out on the river. To learn how to effectively fish for salmon follow this link to book guided salmon fishing with a 'top performing' and highly experienced professional salmon guide. Launching a salmon fly or lure out across the river is literally less than 10% of what this fine pursuit is really all about and especially if consistently seeing a big flash of silver commotion in your landing net is important to you.